Animal Alliance of Canada Opposed to Parks Canada Sidney Island Deer Eradication Plan

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

VICTORIA, British Columbia, April 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On a small Island off the coast of Vancouver Island, Parks Canada is seeking to once again hold an unjustifiable and inhumane eradication of fallow deer with aerial gunning from helicopters and harassment by dogs.

Sidney Island is part of a chain of Islands that make up the Gulf Islands National Park. It is also partly private property with approximately 100 lots overseen by a strata corporation.

Fallow deer were initially introduced to Sidney Island back in 1908 for hunting purposes. With minimal predators on the Island, the population grew to approximately 3000 deer in the early 2000’s. At that time, approximately 2000 deer were killed and recent estimates by local residents suggest the population currently is around 300.

“While damage to the ecosystem was present with the peak population, a UBC report from five years ago shows a 30% improvement to the ecosystem since,” said AAC West Coast Campaign Director Jordan Reichert. “There is no evidence to support Parks Canada’s assertion that the ecosystem is currently not continuing to regenerate and that the current population of deer is not sustainable."

“Regardless of a lack of evidence and data to support eradication, and no current scientific count, Parks Canada has pushed forward an agenda to exterminate fallow deer from Sidney Island,” Reichert continued. “This includes spending $5.9 million dollars to hire contractors, Coastal Conservation, to kill the deer from helicopters and hunting on the ground with dogs. This is very similar to the $6 million spent in 2018 to eradicate deer from Haida Gwaii with aerial sharpshooters from New Zealand.”

Reichert said the eradication program is unethical, unjustified, and absurdly expensive. “Without even doing a scientific count of deer, Parks Canada has claimed there are too many deer on Sidney Island to maintain its ecology and are proceeding with a $6 million eradication program that sounds more like a blockbuster film plot than good science.”

Thanks to a small group of concerned and compassionate landowners who started the Sidney Island Deer Management Society on Sidney Island, Parks Canada and stakeholders have been exposed for promoting this unjustifiable and inhumane killing. These include serious concerns mentioned by Parks Canada staff, obtained through FOI requests, of the spurious justification for eradication and conflicts of interest in how the contract to kill was awarded that we are currently investigating.

“We strongly oppose the eradication program and will work to hold Parks Canada and other involved accountable.”

Jordan Reichert